State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss submitted a 61-chapter report to Knesset
Chairman Reuven Rivlin Tuesday, highlighting hundreds of failures in the public
The report – the longest ever submitted – identified and analyzed
a wide range of government activities and provided comprehensive critiques of
the failures, including recommendations on ways to rectify the problems it
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Lindenstrauss said that the submission of the longest report
since the founding of the state was a “day of celebration for
Upon receiving the report, Rivlin thanked Lindenstrauss and
his staff. “The State Comptroller has proven time after time that effective
critique does not shy away from any person or position,” he said.
report deals with a vast assortment of issues, ranging from donations to
hospitals, to youth trips to Poland, as well as providing insight into the
regular activities of government ministries and authorities and publicly-held
A special chapter in the report was dedicated to the treatment
of the elderly by the various government agencies, with a emphasis on their
medical and welfare needs.
A special assessment of Ehud Barak’s finances
ordered by the State Control Committee reported that Barak avoided fully
revealing his substantial assets prior to joining the Cabinet in
The report stated that Barak had transferred his stock in his
companies to his daughters only three days before being appointed, despite the
fact that he could have done so earlier – and thus acted in violation to the
Aside from the special assessment on Barak’s financial
dealings, the report included two other special assessments requested by the
Knesset State Control Committee: one dealing with suicides in the prisons
system, and the other a secret report on excavations taking place at the Temple
The report opened with criticism over long-standing disputes
between government ministries that hinder public services, either to the general
citizenry or to aided sectors. Forty such disputes were reported on in a survey
of 15 out of 30 ministries, with some of the disputes lasting for
The injured parties include children and teens in state
institutions, who because of a 15-year dispute between the Ministry of Health
and the Ministry for Welfare Services, failed to receive proper treatment after
being released from psychiatric hospitalization.
children sometimes had to miss school because a dispute between the Health
Ministry and the Education Ministry meant that they didn’t receive the medical
supervision they were entitled to by law.
Lack of cooperation between
ministries also created redundancies, budgetary waste and burden on the system.
Such communication breakdowns meant, for example, that the Ministry of Education
and the Ministry of Industry Trade and Labor both had bodies responsible for
overseeing engineering colleges.
Another example given in the report was
a dispute over responsibility of developing the city of Eilat as a tourism-based
destination. The report said that while the government had decided to invest in
the city, confusion over responsibilities between the ministries of tourism,
finance, transportation and the Israel Land Authority, meant that the proposed
development was not taking place, and the city was gradually ebbing.
reports stated that ad hocmediation mechanisms were unable to solve all
differences, and that often the ministries did not address the disputes to the
proper resolution agents, including the Attorney General’s Office, the Prime
Minister’s Office and the specifically-tailored Interministerial
The State Comptroller recommended that the government conduct
an in-depth discussion on the matter, and take on a more proactive role in
identifying and resolving disputes between ministries.
The next section
of the report addressed the use of search committees for appointing senior
positions in the public service. The report found that the practice of
conducting search committees largely replaced tenders as the preferred method of
staffing senior positions, and that the number of jobs filled in this way had
ballooned from nine to 100 since 1999, when the method was first
The report said that the number had risen so steeply because
the Civil Service Commissioner failed to create a list limiting the number of
jobs that could be filled by a search committee, and as a result ministries and
statutory bodies took it upon themselves to adopt the method – often using it to
fill less senior positions than intended.
The report said that additional
reform to the selection method, introduced by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman,
whereby the search committee would only recommend a short list of candidates
that the minister then chooses from, could (and did) lead to the politicizing of
appointments previously considered independent.
The report recommended
that the use of such committees be carefully monitored and
Meanwhile, the report slammed the Finance Ministry for lack
of oversight on gambling. A full chapter of the report dealt with different
aspects of gambling, both legal and illegal.
In its inspection of Mifal
HaPais, the country’s legal gambling monopoly, the State Comptroller identified
breaches of the organization’s operating permits, and deficient oversight of the
permit conditions by the Finance Ministry.
According to the report, the
operator would occasionally change the rules of the games in some of its
lotteries – at times substantially reducing the chances of winning – all without
the knowledge or approval of the Finance Ministry.
“The findings revealed
that Mifal HaPais did not act properly in order to create a balance ensuring the
public good. Its actions were directed mainly at increasing incomes, and to do
so it altered raffle plans without permission of the Ministry of Finance, and in
methodical violation of part of its permit articles,” read the
The company also failed to adequately prevent minors from
gambling, and as a result children were exposed to gambling activities on a
regular basis. The report also said that not enough was being done to inform the
public of the risks of gambling addiction, and the means with which to cope with
Additionally, it pointed to an increasing trend of the
criminalization of legal gambling, with lax oversight on who can open a lottery
franchise; and increased purchase of winning tickets by criminal elements for
the purpose of money laundering.
Criminal activity on a wider scale was
discovered by the State Comptrollers investigation into online gambling
operations. The report stated that even though the problems inherent in
illegal-online gambling started surfacing in the beginning of the 21st century,
it was only since the end of the decade that law enforcement agencies began
seriously coping with the problem.
The report called for better
cooperation among the ministries of communications, justice, and finance and the
police. Additionally, it called for the Bank of Israel to establish the legal
foundations necessary to meet the challenges of the new breed of online
financial crime so that the Internet does not become a refuge for criminal
In its inspection of the public broadcasting networks, the
State Comptrollers Office investigated both the Israel Broadcasting Authority
and the Second Authority for Television and Radio, which supervises commercial
The report found that both bodies needed to do better in
their staffing of positions and hiring of outside talent, and in their
investment in local productions. Both bodies did not meet their requirements for
purchasing locally produced content, thus failing to meet their obligations to
the public interest by investment in local cultural endeavors.
matters that the report examined include: significant lapses in Transportation
Ministry oversight of vehicle licensing bureaus and mechanics; criticism over
management of public transportation companies; supervision of experiments on
animals; overlap in public diplomacy operations; discrimination in acceptance to
schools; delays in the issuing of “smart” identification cards; port management;
and defense purchasing.
The report also dedicated a special section to
the phenomena of suicides of inmates in the prison system.
inspection, which took place between March and July of 2010, studied a series of
infamous jail suicides, including that of popular entertainer Dudu Topaz.
Additionally, it looked into the Prison Services Authority’s plans for suicide
prevention, and its adoption of recommendations submitted by an internal
investigation committee on the phenomenon.
According to Prison Services
Authority data, 103 prisoners committed suicide between 2000 and 2009. The
report found that the PSA was in the midst of a widescale process aimed at
improving its ability to cope with suicides.
This process includes adding
professional personnel, including social workers and psychiatrists, introducing
new surveillance methods and training guards and other prison staff to prepare
them for identifying and preventing potential suicides.
concluded that though the process underway was bearing fruit and promised to
decreases the number of suicides by inmates, some of the planned actions and
initiatives had yet to be sufficiently budgeted, and it urged the PSA to ensure
the funding so as to enable the completion of the multi-year plan.
majority of the State Comptrollers investigation into the excavation works being
conducted by the Jerusalem Islamic Wakf trust under the Temple Mount has not
been approved for publication because of the sensitivity of the issue to
But the report did say that it found severe
deficiencies in the oversight of the appropriate bodies over the works –
deficiencies that according to the report, put ancient artifacts at
“Protection of artifacts from the Temple Mount and preventing their
ruin is a public goal of the first order. It is important to note that any
digging and other works in the Temple Mount must be conducted in consideration
of the character of the place, and after receiving all required permits and
meeting all archeological guidelines. As a rule use of heavy machinery should be
avoided,” read the report.
The four state agencies entrusted with
enforcing the law in the Temple Mount are the Israel Police, the Israel
Antiquities Authority, the Justice Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality. The
report found that the agencies did not do enough to conduct continuous
supervision of the works and make sure that all the artifacts were
Knesset Jerusalem faction chairman Uri Ariel (National Union)
said the section of the report made available to the public did not include the
most important information, and called on the report to be published in its
entirety so that the public realizes the extent of the danger.
State Comptrollers report also conducted an in-depth investigation into Israel’s
public diplomacy activities and surveyed the work of the Foreign Ministry, the
Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs and individual projects, such
as Israel’s booth at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and the “Rebrand Israel”
According to the report, by the time the investigation was
completed in August 2010, the Foreign Ministry had yet to determine operative
decisions and internal regulations regarding the implementation of its goals in
the public diplomacy sphere. A 2008 Internal Ministry report on the issue was
never discussed or approved by the ministry.
The report found that the
ministry was also unprepared to fulfill its communications and advocacy goals on
the online front – despite the NIS 10 million earmarked for the
Only 35% of the NIS 20 million earmarked for the Rebrand Israel
project in the years 2007-2008 was actually used for the intended
The report found that since the project’s establishment in
2006, the ministry had yet to begin the operative stages of the
Plans to expand the project in future years have not been
The report found that only a small number of journalist and
opinion-shapers visits had been received, and that only a portion of the budgets
directed to this aim were utilized.
According to the report, there is
much overlap between the public diplomacy objectives of the Foreign Ministry and
the Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs – but that failure to
properly split up tasks and responsibilities upon the establishment of the
latter created redundancies.
The report also highlighted several problems
in the establishment of the Israel booth at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo,
including failure to appoint a separate person to run the booth after hiring
someone to consult on its operation, and failure to ensure sufficient corporate
sponsorship for the booth.
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